Democracy Has Prevailed.

October 31, 2005

Scalito as "Sloppy Seconds"

From Crooks & Liars:

CBS White House correspondent John Roberts has apologized for saying this during today's gaggle time:

Roberts: "Scott, you said that- or the President said, repeatedly. that Harriet Miers was the best person for the job. So does that mean Alito is sloppy seconds, or what?

Roberts: "I apologize to anyone who took offense to my poor choice of words. I can assure you I meant none."

Made me LOL

I'm sure they were afraid that they'd catch cooties...

Check out the picture here.

Mommy, I'm scared!

Proof that 2pj is unholy (as if our trolls needed any).

This was our stat counter on Halloween morning:

(Actual Screen Capture -- Not Photoshopped)

The Number of The Beast!


2pj: The Halloween Edition


Bush Nominates Total Bastard to Supreme Court.

Yeah, I'm feeling very witchy right now. Go to Think Progress for the details and get really scared:

ALITO WOULD OVERTURN ROE V. WADE: In his dissenting opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Alito concurred with the majority in supporting the restrictive abortion-related measures passed by the Pennsylvania legislature in the late 1980’s. Alito went further, however, saying the majority was wrong to strike down a requirement that women notify their spouses before having an abortion. The Supreme Court later rejected Alito’s view, voting to reaffirm Roe v. Wade. [Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 1991]

ALITO WOULD ALLOW RACE-BASED DISCRIMINATION: Alito dissented from a decision in favor of a Marriott Hotel manager who said she had been discriminated against on the basis of race. The majority explained that Alito would have protected racist employers by “immuniz[ing] an employer from the reach of Title VII if the employer’s belief that it had selected the ‘best’ candidate was the result of conscious racial bias.” [Bray v. Marriott Hotels, 1997]

ALITO WOULD ALLOW DISABILITY-BASED DISCRIMINATION: In Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, the majority said the standard for proving disability-based discrimination articulated in Alito’s dissent was so restrictive that “few if any…cases would survive summary judgment.” [Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1991]

ALITO WOULD STRIKE DOWN THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT: The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) “guarantees most workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a loved one.” The 2003 Supreme Court ruling upholding FMLA [Nevada v. Hibbs, 2003] essentially reversed a 2000 decision by Alito which found that Congress exceeded its power in passing the law. [Chittister v. Department of Community and Economic Development, 2000]

ALITO SUPPORTS UNAUTHORIZED STRIP SEARCHES: In Doe v. Groody, Alito agued that police officers had not violated constitutional rights when they strip searched a mother and her ten-year-old daughter while carrying out a search warrant that authorized only the search of a man and his home. [Doe v. Groody, 2004]

ALITO HOSTILE TOWARD IMMIGRANTS: In two cases involving the deportation of immigrants, the majority twice noted Alito’s disregard of settled law. In Dia v. Ashcroft, the majority opinion states that Alito’s dissent “guts the statutory standard” and “ignores our precedent.” In Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, the majority stated Alito’s opinion contradicted “well-recognized rules of statutory construction.” [Dia v. Ashcroft, 2003; Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, 2004]

More on "Scalito"here.


Still Need A Costume?

Then ask yourself, "WWWW?" (What Would Wonkette Wear?)
"I'll be going as FEMA's Michael Brown -- which means I'll be coming to the party late, bringing no refreshments, offering no help, and ordering the National Guard to use lethal force if any poor people touch the toilet paper."

Need Something to Serve to Guests?

Recipe for Cat Box Cake.

Colin McNickle Spanks Melissa Hart!

Metaphorically, of course.

She should be watching her right flank if he indeed speaks for a large number of conservative Pennsylvanians. In a recent column at The Trib he's more than patronizing to (or is it condescending to? I could never keep those straight) Representative Hart. Here the lesson is in full:
U.S. Rep. Melissa Hart, R-Pa., generally isn't considered to be a liberal. But she sure does a convincing impression of a pandering progressive when the topic turns to economics, particularly the economics of natural gas prices.

Tuesday last, Ms. Hart urged the House Agriculture Committee "to investigate what actions the Congress may take to ensure that Americans are not subjected to unwarranted volatility and price gouging in the natural gas market."

Particular attention must be paid to "excessive speculation" and the role futures trading plays to "artificially raise prices" and cause "unwarranted changes," she said, adding that "unpredictable (price) swings hit hardest on those that can least afford it, such as farmers, seniors and American businesses."

Indeed, this winter's heating bills will be no bargain for most Americans. Some could pay upwards of 70 percent more than last year.

But Hart is allowing her altruistic side to cloud her commonsense instincts. And if that's not the case, well then it's just fundamental ignorance.

As my buddy Don Boudreaux, chairman of the Nobel Prize-holding economics department at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., put it, "Ms. Hart is way off base."

Courtesy of Mr. Boudreaux, a tutorial for Missy:

  • "Prices reflect underlying conditions of supply and demand."

  • "The reason the prices of gasoline and natural gas have risen so dramatically lately are not mysterious: hurricanes and more than usual uncertainty in the Middle East."

  • "That these prices are variable is also no mystery. Uncertainty waxes and wanes with more frequency than does, say, actual supply capacity."

  • "(W)hen uncertainty becomes a larger part of the price of a commodity, the price of that commodity fluctuates more than it does when conditions of relative certainty and security prevail."

  • "The fact that prices fluctuate means that they go up and down -- the latter movement being powerful evidence against suspicions that energy companies are monopolistic."

  • "As for speculation, it actually smooths out prices over time. Speculators who anticipate the price of, say, oil to rise will buy oil today (raising today's price higher than it would be) and sell oil tomorrow (lowering tomorrow's price lower than it would be). Vice-versa for speculators who expect the price of oil to fall."

  • "Without such speculation, prices through time would be more, not less, variable."

  • Congresswoman Hart needs to study the matter a little better before her next press release. Better yet, she needs to sit down with Professor Boudreaux. And I'd be glad to make the connection.
    Far be it from me to get between a conservative member of Congress and a conservative blowhard at The Trib, but it IS fun to watch, isn't it?

    By the way, Mr McNickle does another bit of rhetorical distortion when he writes elsewhere in the piece:
    Collectivism is so ingrained into liberalism's psyche that apologists probably don't even realize how easily and automatically they invoke it. Take, for example, the recent editorial in The New York Times that calls on the federal government to "capitalize on the end of the era of perpetually cheap gas."

    Never mind that gas prices right now are, adjusted for inflation, still about what they were 25 years ago.
    Now I'm not going to venture into the Little Red Book of the wingnut slogans such as "Collectivism is so ingrained into liberalism's psyche..." but I do want to point out something about the last sentence. Mr McNickle grumbles about how pas prices are "still about what they were 25 years ago" when adjusted for inflation.

    This is almost true. Take a look at this chart. 25 years ago was 1980. According to the chart (which takes its data from the Government) the record high (again, adjusted for inflation) was in 1981. A minor point, but when a smug columnist is condescendingly lecturing a member of Congress on the economics of rising gas prices, he should have all his facts straight - even the minor ones. Making such a stupid mistake makes him look, well, stupid.

    Back to the gas prices. After the record high of 1981, prices dropped more or less continually for the next five years or so. If I am reading the chart correctly, they remained basically steady for the next decade and a half. There was a spike upward during the Bush-41 recession and a downward trend during the second Clinton administration, but all-in-all things were relatively steady.

    However, after a "downward spike" during the second Bush-43 recession (hey, anyone else think it interesting that the past three recessions occurred during Republican administrations??), gas prices have risen to their current 20 year high. Take a look at McNickle's statement again:
    Never mind that gas prices right now are, adjusted for inflation, still about what they were 25 years ago.
    Gee, d'ya think some members of McNickle's audience read that gas prices have been steady for the last 25 years? The prose is murky enough to assume so.

    , ,

    Democracy for Pittsburgh November Meetup

    This is the last meetup before the November election and various candidates will be speaking.

    Democracy for Pittsburgh is somewhat unique among the local progressive groups because it both endorses candidates and encourages and supports its own members to run for office AND it does service projects such as collect phone cards for wounded vets (matched by Democracy for America); participates in neighborhood clean-ups; as well as lobbying elected officials for better government.

    This month, we're back on the South Side (I say "we" because if it isn't obvious already, I'm a member).

    Event Date: Wednesday, November 2, 2005
    Event Time: 7:00 PM
    Venue Name: Mario’s South Side Saloon (upstairs in the back)
    Address: 1514 E Carson St
    City: Pittsburgh
    State: PA
    Zip Code: 15203
    Phone Number: 412-381-5610

    Please R.S.V.P. at:

    Some Past Meetups:
    August 2005:

    Judicial Candidate Kathryn Hens-Greco spoke (not pictured).

    April 2005:

    Voting on endorsements for May primary.

    January 2005:

    Candidate Bill Peduto speaks to the group.

    Some Past Actions:

    Members of Democracy for Pittsburgh and members of Tonya Payne’s campaign staff participated in a Neighborhood Clean Up Day on the North Side.

    Ricky’s Redskins let Pennsylvanians attending the Steelers-Eagles game know that Rick Santorum doesn’t represent them, let Santorum know that his days in the Senate are numbered, and let Virginians know that until we get two Senators of our own, we’re claiming their football team!

    Democracy for Pittsburgh member, Joy Sabl, discusses Santorum Homestead Tax Exemption issue with District Attorney Stephen Zappala, Jr.

    Meeting with Congressman Mike Doyle’s District Director Paul Dellasandro during a National Day of Action to preserve Social Security.

    (All photos by yours truly.)

    October 30, 2005

    Rick Santorum on Perjury

    So far we haven't heard much from our junior senator in regards to the Libby Indictments. The P-G had this:
    A spokesman for Mr. Santorum, who is chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, said the senator was unavailable for questions because he was traveling.

    Mr. Santorum, who is facing a difficult re-election campaign that could be compounded by the problems of the Bush administration, released a decidedly neutral statement saying any indictment was "a serious matter" and that he had confidence the legal system would provide a "thorough review of the facts and evidence and render a fair and deliberative decision in this case."
    But what, if anything, does he think of perjury?

    Luckily, someone's tracked him down on this. At the dkosopedia, you can find that our lil Ricky said this:
    You can certainly argue ... that someone who breaks the law in not upholding and not telling the truth under oath and someone who obstructs justice does, in fact, threaten the republic.
    Cool. It's good to know where Rick stands.

    Since he believes that anyone who commits perjury and obstruction of justice threatens the republic and since (as most everyone knows by now) that's precisely what I. Scooter Libby was charged with, Rick Santorum must now believe that if the charges are proved true, then Libby is a threat to the republic.

    Then why didn't he just say so?

    , , .

    October 28, 2005

    Libby Indictment Online Now

    Libby Indicted: 5 Counts

    Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, indicted by grand jury on charges of obstruction of justice, making false statements and perjury in CIA leak probe.

    UPDATE via AmericaBlog:

    1 count obstruction of justice
    2 counts of perjury
    2 counts of making false statements

    It's Time

    So it's 10 minutes to indictment/s as I'm typing this sentence and it's been widely reported that Scooter Libby will be indicted but that Rove is still under investigation.

    CNN is on and they're counting down the minutes -- aren't we all?

    It's said that Libby is a neocon insider so I'm glad that he will be the first of what I hope is many indictments in this administration.

    I was in Jr. High during Watergate and I thought that no one could be worse than Nixon, but I am wavering on that now.

    Nixon did not start Vietnam.

    As needs to be said over and over: this is about more than outing a CIA agent (as bad as this is).

    This is about rigging the "evidence" to send our soldiers to war.

    And, this is about smearing any and all who would expose their corruption and perfidy.

    They need to indicted. There needs to be trials.

    There desperately needs to be the full sunshine of public exposure to their high crimes and misdemeanors.

    October 27, 2005

    Far Right Borks Miers and Bush Blames the Dems

    From the Washington Post:

    Harriet Miers withdrew this morning as a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

    In announcing the decision, Miers and President Bush cited their concern with the requests of members of the Senate Judiciary Committee for documents dealing with her work as White House counsel that the administration has chosen to withhold as privileged.


    Some of them, most notably columnist Charles Krauthammer, had proposed using the documents dispute as a face-saving reason for withdrawal. In fact, negotiations over the documents had barely begun when the withdrawal was announced this morning.

    Yes, she's withdrawn because the Far Right had a limus test on abortion and she they knew that she couldn't say if Miers would overturn Roe V. Wade during the hearings and they weren't rock solid certain of her opinion.

    Damn, Skippy, wasn't it the Big Bad left who were so horrible to ask Roberts about abortion?

    Weren't we wrong, wrong wrong to have a litmus test?

    Isn't it just "not done" to quiz a candidate about Roe V. Wade?

    It's just getting so deep in here, we need hip boots to wade through the B.S.

    October 26, 2005

    I want it in small bills

    Jonathan and Fester did it so here's ours (and if they jumped off a bridge...)

    My blog is worth $48,550.44.
    How much is your blog worth?

    1 in 10 Americans Say Bush Administration is NOT Crooks/Corrupt

    Less Americans believe that the Bush Administration is not crooks/corrupt than believe in astrology (31%) or believe in ghosts (51%).

    From CNN:

    Only one in 10 Americans said they believe Bush administration officials did nothing illegal or unethical in connection with the leaking of a CIA operative's identity, according to a national poll released Tuesday.

    Thirty-nine percent said some administration officials acted illegally in the matter, in which the identity of Valerie Plame, a CIA operative, was revealed.

    The same percentage of respondents in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll said administration officials acted unethically, but did nothing illegal.

    October 25, 2005

    Wednesday is Prince Indictment day!

    From The Washingtonnote:
    Indictments Coming Tomorrow; Targets Received Letters Today

    An uber-insider source has just reported the following to TWN (since confirmed by another independent source):

    1. 1-5 indictments are being issued. The source feels that it will be towards the higher end.

    2. The targets of indictment have already received their letters.

    3. The indictments will be sealed indictments and "filed" tomorrow.

    4. A press conference is being scheduled for Thursday.

    The shoe is dropping.

    More soon.
    And then there's this from CBSNews:
    Lawyers familiar with the case think Wednesday is when special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will make known his decision, and that there will be indictments. Supporters say Rove and the vice president’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby, are in legal jeopardy.
    Wow. But it's NOT a good idea to count the chickenhawks before they hatch, is it?

    Death Toll Reaches 2,000 Today

    If you wish to mourn the 2,000 US soldiers who have died in Iraq with others...If you feel, like I, that the war with Iraq was completely avoidable...If you wish to protest this war and these needless deaths, here is one site that contains a place to sign up for MoveOn, True Majority, Democracy for America and American Friends Service Committee vigils:

    Vigils for 2000 Killed in Iraq

    Vigils are planned acress the country for the 2,000th death of a US soldier in Iraq by various groups. This morning it was reported that 1,999 have been killed.

    Flagstaff Hill, Oakland, across from Phipps Conservatory

    Schenley Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
    Date and Time To Be Announced

    Bring a candle, your family and friends, and a sign if you wish. The site is a large hill, possibly difficult to maneuver with a wheelchair, but with sidewalk right in front of it. The goal is a silent, respectful recognition of the loss of 2000 American - and countless Iraqi - lives without adequate justification, without a plan, without regard for their value or the pain of those they leave behind. We will take a stand against the carnage for ourselves and countless other Americans, as more and more of us wake up to the truth: the Bush administration used manipulation and lies to get us into this war and send these people to their death, and it's up to us to say NO MORE.

    To sign up for this event, click here:

    Not in Pittsburgh? Find a MoveOn event in your area here:

    American Friends Service Committee:
    On the day after the 2,000th reported U.S. military death in Iraq, people will gather in communities across the U.S. to say that the country’s pro-peace majority wants Congress to stop the deaths by stopping the dollars that are funding the war.

    Pittsburgh, PA - Friends Meeting House
    Organizer: Scilla Wahrhaftig

    This will be a women\'s silent, candlelit, vigil and march for peace. We are asking all to come dressed in black to show our mourning at the deaths. Men are welcome. This event is sponsored by AFSC, Women\'s International League for Peace and Freedom and Code Pink.

    R.S.V.P. here.


    Pittsburgh, PA - Carnegie Museum "Dinosaur"
    Organizer: David Meieran

    Pittsburgh Organizing Group (POG) is asking that people join us for an emergency counter-recruitment rally and march starting at 7PM at Carnegie Museum Dinosaur in Oakland. Bring candles, flashlights, drums and whatever else you feel will help express your outrage over the tremendous loss of life in this pointless and costly war and the lies that sustain it.

    ALSO NOTE: Before coming to the POG rally, consider attending a women\'s march through Oakland that Pittsburgh chapters of the American Friends Service Committee, the Women’s League For Peace and Freedom and Code Pink are organizing. Their silent candlelight march starts at 5:30 PM, at the Friends Meeting House, 4836 Ellsworth Ave. Wear black.

    Both events will take place on the day after the 2,000th U.S. death in Iraq is reported.
    The Carnegie Museum Dinosaur is located across from the University of Pittsburgh\'s Cathedral of Learning at Forbes Avenue and Schenley Drive.

    R.S.V.P. here.

    Not in Pittsburgh? Find a Friends events in your area here:

    ULYP and PUMP Mayoral Debate Today

    From Progress Pittsburgh Blog:
    Just a reminder that ULYP and PUMP are co-sponsoring a mayoral candidate debate at the Kelly Strayhorn Theatre, 5941 Penn Avenue in East Liberty (412.363.3000 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm today. Joe Sabino Mistick, a law professor at Duquesne, will moderate. Six candidates will spar--Titus North (Green Party), Jay Ressler (Socialist Workers Party), David Tessitor (independent), Les Ludwig (write-in), Joe Weinroth (Republican), and Bob O'Connor (Democrat).

    No habla espanol...

    ...but apparently some things transcend language.

    (Thank you Blue Bus for the hits.)

    UPDATE: Ack! Apparently this is a Brazilian site. While I've lost most of the Spanish I knew, I never knew any Portuguese.

    "What Rosa Parks Gave America"

    At The Nation, John Nichols explains what "What Rosa Parks Gave America"

    In 1776, the Continental Congress awarded the first Congressional Gold Medal of Honor to General George Washington, a bold and determined man who had the courage to lead his country into battle for its freedom but who lacked the wisdom to recognize that the promise of the American Revolution would never be fully realized for so long as African Americans were second-class citizens.

    In 1999, two hundred and twenty three years after Washington was recognized by the Continental Congress, its successor, the 106th Congress, voted overwhelmingly to award the same Congressional Gold Medal of Honor that had once been given to the man know as The Father of His Country to the woman who will forever be known as the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.

    Rosa Parks (1913 - 2005)

    It was not merely appropriate that Rosa Parks receive the same recognition as George Washington had been accorded. It was essential, for without Parks and those who joined her in forging the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, Washington's promise of freedom would have remained forever constricted by the overt chains of slavery and the covert chains of segregation.

    Cheney Outed Plame to Libby

    From the New York Times:

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 - I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, first learned about the C.I.A. officer at the heart of the leak investigation in a conversation with Mr. Cheney weeks before her identity became public in 2003, lawyers involved in the case said Monday.

    Notes of the previously undisclosed conversation between Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney on June 12, 2003, appear to differ from Mr. Libby's testimony to a federal grand jury that he initially learned about the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson, from journalists, the lawyers said.

    The notes, taken by Mr. Libby during the conversation, for the first time place Mr. Cheney in the middle of an effort by the White House to learn about Ms. Wilson's husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, who was questioning the administration's handling of intelligence about Iraq's nuclear program to justify the war.

    Lawyers involved in the case, who described the notes to The New York Times, said they showed that Mr. Cheney knew that Ms. Wilson worked at the C.I.A. more than a month before her identity was made public and her undercover status was disclosed in a syndicated column by Robert D. Novak on July 14, 2003.

    A commenter at this Daily KOS diary asks and answers why Libby flipped:
    If this is true, it is the end of the Bush administration. It means that Libby flipped. We can ask why did he flip? In my opinion, the only thing that could flip him is the threat of something close to the death penalty, which means some one died as a consequence of the revelation of Ms Plame's job. Perjury alone wouldn't do it, since he could expect to do time in a minimum security prison with time out for good behavior and a good job at the end of it for keeping his trap shut. So Fitz must have something that really hurts, and the only thing that could really hurt is a certified death.

    A couple of other questions:

    Doesn't this make the Rethuglican Talking Points TM that it was journalists who outed Plame to the White House a bunch of bull?

    If Cheney was the leaker, doesn't it make Bush's stance that he would "find" the leaker a bit like O.J. saying he would find the "real" killers?

    October 24, 2005

    Top Ten Things We Will Soon Learn About Patrick Fitzgerald

    From A Tiny Revolution blog which obviously got the Far Right's Talking Points before everyone else:

    1. He Murdered Vincent Foster

    2. Is Son Of A Liberal Elitist Doorman

    3. Claims He Spent Christmas, 1983 In Cambridge; Actually Was In Somerville

    4. Casey Sheehan Would Be Ashamed Of Him

    5. Is Irish, Not That We're Implying There's Anything Sinister About His Frequent Blackouts

    6. Fathered John McCain's Illegitimate Black Child

    7. Charles Krauthammer Thinks He's Crazy, And Krauthammer Is A Psychiatrist

    8. Let's Not Forget That The Vatican—The Center Of His Religion—Is The Great Whore Of Revelation 17

    9. A Friend Of Mine Knows The Cousin Of The Neighbor Of Someone Who Worked With Him In 1986 Who Says the Coffee Machine In The Office Cost 50 Cents But Sometimes You Would Put In A Quarter And It Would Start Working Which Meant it Had Eaten The Quarter Of The Person Ahead of You And Once They Saw Fitzgerald Get Coffee Like This Which Meant He Essentially Stole A Quarter From Someone In The Office, Which Really Brings Up The Character Issue

    10. Michael Moore Is Fat

    How long until Brent Scowcroft gets Swiftboated?

    According to Washingtonnote, in this week's New Yorker Former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft has some vastly unkind things to say about the glorious leader and his administration. From Washingtonnote:
    Jeffrey Goldberg has written a critique in The New Yorker of the Bush White House that equals Ron Suskind's devastating critique of Bush before the last election titled "Without a Doubt."

    In "Breaking Ranks: What Turned Brent Scowcroft Against the Bush Administration?", Jeffrey Goldberg coaxes Brent Scowcroft to delineate his differences with the foreign policy proclivities of George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Cheney, and others.

    And in the piece, George H.W. Bush is interviewed about Scowcroft -- and while Bush 41's comments are more elliptical, he stands clearly by Scowcroft's side in clear criticism of the decisions his son made.
    And some interesting quotations:
    A principal reason that the Bush Administration gave no thought to unseating Saddam was that Brent Scowcroft gave no thought to it. An American occupation of Iraq would be politically and militarily untenable, Scowcroft told Bush. And though the President had employed the rhetoric of moral necessity to make the case for war, Scowcroft said, he would not let his feelings about good and evil dictate the advice he gave the President.

    It would have been no problem for America's military to reach Baghdad, he said. The problems would have arisen when the Army entered the Iraqi capital. "At the minimum, we'd be an occupier in a hostile land," he said. "Our forces would be sniped at by guerrillas, and, once we were there, how would we get out? What would be the rationale for leaving? I don't like the term 'exit strategy' -- but what do you do with Iraq once you own it?"
    And then there's this on Secretary of State Rice:
    The disintegrating relationship between Scowcroft and Condoleezza Rice has not escaped the notice of their colleagues from the first Bush Administration. She was a political-science professor at Stanford when, in 1989, Scowcroft hired her to serve as a Soviet expert on the National Security Council.

    Scowcroft found her bright -- "brighter than I was" -- and personable, and he brought her all the way inside, to the Bush family circle. When Scowcroft published his Wall Street Journal article, Rice telephoned him, according to several people with knowledge of the call. "She said, 'How could you do this to us?'" a Scowcroft friend recalled. "What bothered Brent more than Condi yelling at him was the fact that here she is, the national-security adviser, and she's not interested in hearing what a former national-security adviser had to say."
    Go read the piece at Washingtonnote, then head out to your local newsstand to pick up The New Yorker (I'll be doing that today).

    Given all the criticisms of the great and glorious leader, how long will it take for Sean Hannity or Michele Malkin to claim (without any evidence, of course) that Brent Scowcroft is an unimportant, tired old man and that he should be stripped of his Presidential Medal of Freedom because he's obviously senile and in league with the terrorists? How else but senility could explain how Scowcroft so easily forgot the lessons of 9/11?

    How long before the Swiftboating of Brent Scowcroft begins?

    Good Morning.

    October 23, 2005

    Even MORE Bad news for lil Ricky

    In an article posted today about Republican Senatorial fundraising, I found this:
    Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., has more than $1.2 million in campaign funds, according to his report to the Federal Election Commission.

    In contrast, Sen. Thad Cockran, R-Miss., reported having $495 in campaign funds last month, but his re-election race is not until 2008.

    Lott has not declared whether he will run again, but said he would like to be the whip, a position currently occupied by Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.
    Then there's this from the October 8 US News:
    The repercussions over President Bush's pick of little-known Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court are now moving into the upcoming Senate leadership elections set for the end of this year. In the latest twist, former Majority Leader Sen. Trent Lott is picking up strong support from conservatives for a return to the leadership, likely as the No. 2 position of whip, because of his sharp questioning of the president's pick. Some are even talking about having him challenge his friend, Assistant Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who backs Miers, for the top job being vacated by retiring Sen. Bill Frist.

    While few Senate insiders expect the three-term Mississippian to challenge McConnell, conservatives energized and angered by the Miers nomination are talking about encouraging him for leadership as a way to police the president's agenda from a more conservative view. It also comes as fears grow that the current conference chair, Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, is in an uphill re-election battle. A loss would take Santorum out of the fight for the whip post.

    "Lott may be back in leadership in 13 short months. Santorum goes down; Lott goes up to whip," says a Senate GOP strategist.
    And here's how the National Review online sees things. First Senator Lott:
    Perhaps the strongest statement from the Senate has come from former Majority Leader Trent Lott. In an MSNBC interview on Wednesday, Oct. 5, Lott said that Miers is ''clearly not the most qualified person for the job" — something that seems pretty clear.
    And now Ricky:
    Rick Santorum, junior senator from Pennsylvania, may be the Republican with the most to lose if Harriet Miers is not the next Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas — and if it is not clear she is one of the aforementioned before November 2006. He is the senator the Left would most like to unseat in the midterm elections, and being double-digits behind in the polls, he's not in a position to lose any friends right now.

    Even so, last Thursday in an interview, Santorum criticized the president's "trust me" approach to the nomination: "I am concerned President Bush nominated someone who is a blank slate. I'm disappointed that he wanted to nominate someone like that instead of someone with a record.'' Santorum said, "It is what I term the president's second faith-based initiative, which is 'trust me.' I think, candidly, we deserve better than that."

    In the White House, that had to hurt.
    I almost feel sorry for the guy. Well, not really.

    But he's looking at an uphill battle for his Senate seat - a seat that former Senate Majority Leader wants.

    That's gotta hurt.


    Kayne was Right Rally -- You can still make it today!

    What: Join others in a rally to support Kayne West - a performer who said on national TV "George Bush doesn't care about black people" (NBC removed Kayne's statement from the rebroadcast of the Katrina benefit concert)
    When: October 23, 5:45 pm
    Where: Peterson Event Center (University of Pittsburgh - out front)

    Hip Hop Political Rally with:

  • Speakers—Paradise Gray will be at the event and has agreed to speak

  • Providing information on local and national Katrina info, info on the rebuilding of New Orleans

  • Handing out 'Kanye Was Right' stickers

  • Recruitment of volunteers to assist Katrina evacuees locally

  • Some local artists

  • Kanye West declared "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Sunday, before Kanye's concert a coalition of Pittsburghers will gather before the concert to show that the people of Pittsburgh —black, white, young, old—DO CARE about each other and our city. The hip-hop generation has been portrayed as violent, disaffected, disenfranchised, but in reality hip hop has always been about activism and community. We get together to show that the hip hop generation can be a positive force of community action and change. This rally represents cooperation amongst a number of grass roots organizations including:

  • Hip Hop 4 Survival

  • Millions More Movement

  • The League of Young Voters

  • The League of Hip Hop Voters

  • The National Hip Hop Political Convention

  • Color of Change/

  • The Source Magazine

  • Davey D's Hip Hop Homepage:


  • University of Pittsburgh Black Action Society

  • This rally is non partisan, and not about any one issue. We come together to say; it doesn't matter what you stand for, as long as you stand.

    October 22, 2005

    Welcome KDKA Listeners!

    If you're looking for the ABSOLUT CORRUPTION parody ad, you can find it HERE, but there's lots else to see too.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Reminder: I'll be on KDKA tonight!

    Here's the details.

    When: 11:00pm tonight
    Where: KDKA Radio.

    If you're not in the Pittsburgh area, you can (I believe) listen in via the internets.


    October 21, 2005

    DeLay's Lawyer Smears MoveOn

    A Lying Client and His Lying Lawyer

    From Think Progress:

    DEGUERIN: The latest thing on’s website, they are trying to raise money by selling t-shirts with Tom DeLay’s mug shot on the t-shirts. And I just don’t think that it looks right for the judge sitting on Congressman DeLay’s case to have contributed to an organization such as that.

    According to MoveOn’s Washington director Tom Mattzie, this claim is false. Mattzie told ThinkProgress this morning that MoveOn has “never sold any t-shirts with Tom DeLay’s mug shot” on their website or otherwise. You can go to their website and see that he’s right.

    Repthuglicans just refuse to play any game unless they hold all the dice. They want a Rethuglican laywer in a court in DeLay's own district. So, they LIE and the Media refuses to FACT CHECK and swallows the lies and repeats them.

    Conservative Backlash against Ann Coulter

    I found this at Bradblog.

    Looks like an organization called Citizens for Principled Conservatism is annoyed with Ann Coulter and has been for a while.

    Here's how the CPC describes itself:
    Citizens for Principled Conservatism is a coalition of individuals and organizations dedicated to the proposition that Conservatism can only endure as a viable and vibrant movement if it maintains a commitment to the core character traits of honor and integrity, honesty and virtue.

    However, these character traits are not exclusively conservative in nature and cannot be co-opted by a single political party. Consequently, this coalition reaches across party lines to all those who believe that those core character traits are necessary ingredients for the public square and all those who inhabit it.
    I can't speak for the other Political Junkie, but I heartily applaud the above proposition. I wish the CPC the best in this project.

    So what's the CBC doing these days? Seems that along with running Coulterwatch, they're producing an anti-Coulter documentary.

    And what's their beef? Here's what Brad has to say:
    Citizens for Principled Conservatism (CPC) is currently in-production of a documentary named The Truth About Ann which aims squarely at political and religious hypocrisy of Rightwing commentator and author, Ann Coulter.

    Also, the CPC released to BradBlog a powerpoint presentation (sorry for the annoying alliteration. Unfortunately, it was unavoidable.) which can be downloaded as a windows media file here.

    CPC is run by a man named Daniel Borchers, who also runs the website Brotherwatch. While the two sites take a decidedly religious tack in critiquing the Right (a tack unavailable a lowly agnostic such as myself), it's good to see someone on the Right pointing out what we've been seeing for a while. Here's a good quotation:
    “Speaking the truth in love is a Christian imperative,” says Borchers, "But both truth and love – core Christian concepts – are foreign to Ann Coulter."
    Truth and Love are foreign to Ann?? Whudda thunk it?

    , ,

    October 20, 2005

    DeLay Mug Shot: Everyone Loves A Clown

    (Actual Mug Shot***)

    Smoking Gun has it all here.

    ***Well, OK, maybe he wasn't actually wearing the red nose.

    Study Reveals Pittsburgh Unprepared For Full-Scale Zombie Attack -- Ignored by Local Media

    Perhaps the most disturbing thing about this article from The Onion is that we see no information about this study in the local MSM: nothing in the Post-Gazette, or the Tribune Review or on any of the local Pittsburgh TV channels.


    We had to learn about the article from other local bloggers who found it:

    PITTSBURGH—A zombie-preparedness study, commissioned by Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy and released Monday, indicates that the city could easily succumb to a devastating zombie attack. Insufficient emergency-management-personnel training and poorly conceived undead-defense measures have left the city at great risk for all-out destruction at the hands of the living dead, according to the Zombie Preparedness Institute.

    "When it comes to defending ourselves against an army of reanimated human corpses, the officials in charge have fallen asleep at the wheel," Murphy said. "Who's in charge of sweep-and-burn missions to clear out infected areas? Who's going to guard the cemeteries at night? If zombies were to arrive in the city tomorrow, we'd all be roaming the earth in search of human brains by Friday."

    (more here)
    The article mentions that Pittsburgh is "a prime target of the undead." Something of which all Pittsburghers are well aware.

    While the piece states that outgoing Mayor Murphy commissioned the study, we would have liked to have seen some comment from the mayoral candidates running in the November 8th election. Was Bob O'Connor unavailable for comment? Perhaps the local papers can also get some of the other candidates to comment on their plans for zombie control. Green party candidate Titus North appears to be a thoughtful man and we're certain that David Tessitor would have something to say on this subject -- well, ANY subject, really.

    We'd also like to know what City Council is doing, or planning to do, about the zombie problem. At the very least we would expect them to hold a post agenda meeting to be telecast live on the City Channel. I know I'd watch.

    For those new to Pittsburgh: I'd especially advise staying away from the little blonde girls...

    And, remember:

    They're coming to get you, Barbara!

    More bad news for Lil Ricky

    The Hill (a newspaper "for and about the U.S. Congress") has published some more bad news for our junior senator:
    Democrat Bob Casey has widened his lead over Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), according to a GOP poll to be released today.

    The poll, conducted over the weekend by the Atlanta-based firm Strategic Vision, shows Casey, the state treasurer, capturing 52 percent versus Santorum’s 36 percent — a 16-point gap.

    Polls released by the same firm showed Santorum trailing by 14 points in September and nine points in August.
    While is bad bad news for Rick, this followed in the article:
    “There’s no doubt about it: Rick Santorum is in trouble,” Casey Campaign Manger Jay Reiff said.

    Reiff also cautioned that the Casey campaign expects the race to tighten considerably.

    “A two-term incumbent with $25 million is not going to lose by double digits. We expect this to be a very close race.”
    And who is this "Strategic Visions"? Here's their policial polling webpage. They recently completed a poll of Pennsylvania residents. The very interesting results are here.

    A poll of 1200 Pennsylvania residents was conducted on October 14-16. When asked whether they approved or disapproved of George Bush's job performance, 57% disapproved while only 36% approved. The results were mostly the same when asked about Bush's handling of the economy - 59% disapprove vs 35% approve.

    55% do not want Roe v Wade overturned (38% want it over turned).

    The bad news for our lil Ricky happens down in question 13:
    Do you approve or disapprove of United States Senator Rick Santorum's job performance?
    Approve 40%
    Disapprove 47%
    Undecided 13%
    And then question 14:
    If the election for United States Senate were held today, and the choice was between Robert Casey, Jr., the Democrat and Rick Santorum, the Republican, whom would you vote for?
    Robert Casey 52%
    Rick Santorum 36%
    Other 2%
    Undecided 10%
    Strategic Visions also says that by a margin of 55-to-30 percent, Pennsylvanians approve of the way Arlen Specter is doing his job.

    So if the poll is accurate, we live in a pro-choice state that's not happy with the way Rick Santorum's done his job.

    Adding insult upon insult, a majority (55%) of Pennsylvanians did not want Rick to (gag!) run for President in 2008. And in question 21, when Republican Pennsylvanians were asked about their choice for a Presidential candidate in 2008 they answered:
    Rudy Guliani 42%
    John McCain 28%
    Newt Gingrich 7%
    Bill Frist 3%
    Mitt Romney 2%
    Rick Santorum 2%
    George Pataki 2%
    George Allen 1%
    Chuck Hagel 1%
    Undecided 12%
    See that? Rick got 2% of that vote. Six times as many Pennsylvania Republicans responded as "undecided." Geez, Rick scored lower than the guy being investigated by the SEC, Bill Frist.

    Of course we have miles to go before the next Senatorial election, but right now Rick's in deep doo-doo.

    Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

    I'll be on KDKA Saturday!

    Be sure to check out John McIntire's LifeLounge this Saturday.

    I'll be on at about 11 O'Clock. I know it's really really late, but it's sure to be a fun time.

    As far as I know, we'll be discussing this blog, the local blogosphere, and other various and sundry topics.

    Be there or be square!

    October 19, 2005

    The Little Sisters of the Poor Vs. The Big Bad Pittsburgh City Council

    Well, that is how some are presenting it...

    The issue: How much, if anything, do nonprofits owe the city of Pittsburgh?

    The Pittsburgh Public Service Fund represents universities, hospitals, foundations, arts groups and nonprofit insurers. Pittsburgh City Council has a vote pending on a contract with the fund. As the Post-Gazette explains the contract:

    Contributors would be exempt from any city efforts to "assess a tax or fee" on charitable institutions. The city also would be required to treat their requests for applications, permits, licenses and other approvals "no differently than those requested by for-profit or government entities," according to the contract.

    Nonprofit organizations contacted yesterday would not say what they pledged, but emphasized their willingness to help.

    UPMC Health System spokeswoman Jane Duffield said that UPMC had contributed $23 million to the city from 1989 to 2002.

    During that time, many organizations made contributions to fend off city challenges to their nonprofit status. In 1997 the state reduced municipalities' ability to file such challenges.
    The nonprofits side is being presented in the media as: We don't OWE anything; the city is being ungrateful toward our generous donation (at a time when nonprofits face their own cutbacks); and the city is sticking it to groups like The Little Sisters of the Poor. The Post-Gazette chimed in to advise that City Council should take the money and run; calling it a "no-brainer."

    In some impassioned speeches yesterday by members of the Pittsburgh City Council a different view was presented.

    Councilman Bill Peduto said it was shameful for big corporations with lobbyists in Harrisburg making six figures to hide behind organizations like The Little Sisters of the Poor while these corporations enjoy the benefits of the city without paying taxes. He also noted that it was not the mayor or Council who had "penciled-in" the $33.5 million over five years that is at the heart of the dispute (the Fund has pledged $12.1 million over three years), but it was the Oversight Board who had set up that expectation for revenue.

    While Councilman Doug Shields agreed that the bulk of the nonprofit money was to come from big corporations such as hospitals and universities and not meant to beg from the Red Cross or the The Little Sisters of the Poor, he had a different focus saying, "This council is not very happy right now with any of you -- whether it's Act 47 (state recovery team), Harrisburg assembly or whatever," adding, "We were given a (recovery) plan that assumes much and provides little, but we're having our feet held to the fire to the plan that has no revenue behind it. This plan has no basis to go forward."

    Council President Gene Riccardi agreed with both Peduto and Shields but made it clear that he thought that a scheduled meeting with the nonprofits would be better postponed and that if Act 47 assumes revenue that will never come in then they need to replace that revune with another source.

    So where does this all leave us?

    At the risk of being a Master of the Obvious: IN A BIG HOLE.

    It would seem to me that the large nonprofits are getting value for their contribution and I'm willing to believe that a UPMC would try to get the most "value" for the buck. So it would not shock me if they and others like them were not killing themselves to be overly "generous." And bringing up a name like "Little Sisters of the Poor" into the fray is pretty low when it's a UPMC (fiscal 2004 operating revenue base of $4.5 billion) vs. a city who IS THE POOR.

    That said, if the recovery plan has imagainary sources of revenue in it then the state recovery team needs to go back to the drawing board and find some real cash -- and, no, they may not have the pennies from my jar on the shelf.

    Nonprofits' donation to Pittsburgh falls short
    Thursday, October 13, 2005, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Editorial: Take the gift / Council risks losing city help from nonprofits
    Tuesday, October 18, 2005, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Nonprofits fire back after city snipes at fund donations
    TRIBUNE-REVIEW, Tuesday, October 18, 2005
    In Rebuttal: Pittsburgh's nonprofits are making a generous donation to the city
    Wednesday, October 19, 2005, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Oversight board postpones city budget vote
    TRIBUNE-REVIEW, Wednesday, October 19, 2005


    A web site with excellent taste


    "Nobody knows my views on Roe v. Wade"

    That's the statement that Sen. Charles Schumer (NY-D) said that Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers made to him in a a closed-door meeting.

    On that same day, Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (PA-R) claimed that "she believes that there is a right to privacy" in the Constitution (a key underpinning of the Roe v. Wade ruling) and that Miers considered as settled law a 1965 Supreme Court ruling that invalidated a Connecticut law prohibiting the use of contraception by married couples. Then the White House claimed that Miers had not discussed her feelings on Griswold with Specter and Specter's office issued a statement saying, "he misunderstood her and that she had not taken a position" on the 1965 case or the privacy issue.

    In weeks past we have had Focus on the Family Founder James C. Dobson claiming that Karl Rove had told him some things he "probably shouldn't know" that led him to believe Miers "will be a good justice," and then later declaring, “Rove didn't tell me anything about the way Harriet Miers would vote on cases that may come before the Supreme Court. We did not discuss Roe v. Wade in any context or any other pending issue that will be considered by the court."

    And now we know that:

    President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, Harriet E. Miers, pledged support in 1989 for a constitutional amendment that would ban abortions except when necessary to save the life of the woman.

    Ms. Miers expressed her support for such an amendment in an April 1989 survey sent out by Texans United for Life. The disclosure virtually guarantees that Ms. Miers will be questioned heavily during hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee on abortion rights and whether she can separate her personal views from legal issues.

    As a candidate for a seat on the Dallas City Council, Ms. Miers answered "yes" to the following question: "If Congress passes a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution that would prohibit abortion except when it was necessary to prevent the death of the mother, would you actively support its ratification by the Texas Legislature?"

    Ms. Miers answered "yes" to all the organization's questions, including whether she would oppose the use of public money for abortion and whether she would use her influence to keep "pro-abortion" people off city health boards and commissions.
    The White House response to this revaluation?

    "The role of a judge is very different from the role of a candidate or a political officeholder," Mr. McClellan said of the 1989 document. "What she was doing in that questionnaire was expressing her views during the course of a campaign. The role of a judge is to apply the law in a fair and open-minded way."

    What to make of all this?

    Easy: they're playing a game of
    ThreeCard Monte.

    The Right is assured that the Miers Card is anti-choice and the Left is meant to try to chase the Miers Card around and bet our wad that the face of the card resembles Sandra Day O'Conner more than Scalia.

    Anyone who has spent any time on the streets of a major city knows that the rubes still fall for this game.

    But it's a sucker's bet.

    Bush has nominated his FIXER private lawyer to ensure that he doesn't get swept up into the maelstrom if things really go south -- that's her real face value.

    Maybe he assumes that she's anti-choice, maybe he knows that she is, maybe he doesn't care.

    We don't need to care either what Bush knows or doesn't at this point.

    All we need to know is that he's an arrogant SOB who does whatever he wants...invade to dismantle the New Deal...pack his Administration with cronies...whatever the Boy King desires is done.

    Whether he does these things because he's an arrogant frat boy who cannot be told "no," or because he's a dyslexic, dry drunk with a Messiah Complex, or because he's some combination of these things matters little.

    In this matter alone he has demonstrated his lack of understanding of/fidelity to the US Constitution that he has sworn to defend by imposing a religious test on his pick:

    Article VI of the Constitution states that “No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” As the New York Sun pointed out recently, it is the single most absolutist and emphatic sentence in the entire Constitution. For those who would say that just because President Bush considered Miers’ religion in nominating her, that doesn’t necessarily mean he was imposing any kind of “religious test,” I would implore you to think of it this way: if part of the reason the President nominated Miers was her religion, then that necessitates the fact that part of the reason other prospects were not nominated was because they did not have the same “quality” of religion that Harriet Miers did. Thus, they were subjected to a religious test by the President in considering them for an appointment to the Supreme Court. This is grossly unconstitutional, and if it is allowed to stand, it will be a tacit admission that the “Religious Test” clause has become outdated and inoperable, and we will be one major step closer to theocracy.
    I'm going to assume that Miers has the same finely tuned understanding of our Constitution that our Glorious Leader has -- after all, Miers has stated that Bush, "was the most brilliant man she had ever met."

    I'm also going to assume that Miers is anti-choice. I assume that because there's no reason not to and because I don't play Three Card Monte.

    I'm going to assume that any person with half a brain gets the irony of the White House crying that Miers religion should not be an issue, as well as the Right's indignation that they aren't completely sure of her stand on abortion when they decried the Democrats' efforts to get Justice Roberts to state his position on that same issue.

    All that I want now is for the police to show up and break up this game and scatter the players down the street. In this little analogy, the police are the Democrats with any balls left in Congress. The ones who aren't counseling to sit this one out because the next choice could be worse or because the Right is imploding themselves over this pick.

    Does anyone really expect a GOOD choice from Bush?

    Do I not have a right to expect my party to take a stand on SOMETHING?

    Where's a cop when you need one?

    October 18, 2005

    Want My Props

    (That is to say, I want the HITS)

    Crooks & Liars has a link to Mark Kleiman's piece on "Criminalizing Conservatism":

    Criminalizing conservatism

    Mark Kleiman has the goods and the picture to prove it.

    Unfortunately, Kleiman does not link to the original source of the picture he uses which is moi and can be seen here.

    October 17, 2005

    Meet the Candidate: Andrew Wagner

    Think just because this is Allegheny County that all the races were decided in the May primary?

    Think there's a race where your $5 or $10 couldn't make a real difference?

    Well, think again and meet
    Andrew Wagner.

    Andrew is running for Ohio Township Supervisor. He's running against a 20 year Republican candidate -- and check this out -- he has an excellent chance of winning with your help. He's already got his yard signs in place and can use the $$$ for a mailer.

    Why is Andrew Wagner running?
    "I am running because I am concerned about the direction the Township is taking in terms of over-development and the lack of an open government in our community. If you want a change of faces and ideas, or if you feel as if your concerns about our neighborhood are not being addressed by the current administration, then you should seriously consider supporting my candidacy."
    Who is Andrew Wagner?
    Andrew Wagner is a freshman at Duquesne University. He has been an active volunteer in politics, and was instrumental in helping organize students for the Kerry/Edwards campaign in 2004.
    Yep, he's young and he's got fresh ideas and he's ready to turn an R into a D.

    You can donate to Andrew Wagner's campaign here and learn more about him at

    If you live in Ohio Township or know people who do please tell them about Andrew.

    If you have any questions about Andrew or his campaign don't hesitate to contact Lindsay Patross at (He's got a lot of other good people supporting him too).

    And, just remember that this is one race where your $10 can make a world of difference! So don't just talk about how great real grassroots democracy is -- do something to support it!

    Things to do; places to go; people to meet!

    TODAY -- OCT. 17:

    Run Baby Run Happy Hour -- Meet other women interested in politics

    The very first Run, Baby, Run Happy Hour. This one's dedicated to the ladies that will soon be populating W PA's ballots, of course the guys are welcome also. All are welcome to attend.

    RBR Happy Hour:

    Monday, Oct. 17, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

    At Tonic, 971 Liberty Ave (at 10th)
    ( 2nd floor )

    Please email Gloria if you'll be able to attend.


    Monday, October 17th
    7:00 - 9:00 PM
    University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg
    Room 118 in Village Hall
    Free Admission

    Come and learn what you can do to help protect your right to vote and have your vote counted accurately! Learn about the purchase of new polling equipment under the Help America Vote Act, and about upcoming Election Reform bills in Congress and the PA General Assembly. The
    evening will feature a short film and multimedia, and petitions will be available to sign that will be delivered to various county, state, and federal level representatives.

    The speaker will be national Election Integrity activist Marybeth Kuznik, who is a Founder of VotePA, and a long-time pollworker in Westmoreland County. Speaker bio here:

    In a time when we claim to be delivering democracy around the globe we must make certain that we uphold the most democratic values here at home.


    OCT. 19th

    Pittsburgh Gaming Task Force Meetings

    Have an opinion on gambling in the Burg?

    Now is the time to talk about it - the Post-Gazette reported that this week the open meeting about casinos in Pittsburgh was poorly attended and that most of the people who did attend were potential developers.

    There is still time to be heard - here is the list of upcoming meetings that the Pittsburgh Gaming Task Force is holding:

    Oct 19 - 6:30-8:30, Regional Enterprise Tower, 31st Floor
    Oct 24 - 6:30-8:30, Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild
    Nov 1 - 6:30-8:30, Goodwill Industries of Pgh Cafeteria
    Nov 16 - 6:30-8:30, Regional Enterprise Tower 31st Floor

    OCT 21st

    Conscience Events

    Meeting on sponsored by Conscience and AFSC
    Friday, October 21, 7 – 9 PM
    Friends Meeting House, 4836 Ellsworth Ave. Pittsburgh

    Militarization of the Educational System in Israel Relevance to Counter Recruitment Work in Pittsurgh

    Also: A few months ago Bruce Krane who produces Courting Controversy on PCTV21 did a 45 min segment on counter recruitment with two members from Pittsburgh organizing Group and me from AFSC and Conscience. It is presently being aired and if you are interested it is being presented on the following dates:
    10/19 4:00 PM
    10/22 10:00 Pm
    10/25 8:00 Pm
    10/28 12:00 PM
    10/31 7:00 PM
    11/4 5:00 Pm


    OCT 22nd

    70's & 80's Oldies Cabaret Fundraiser by Committee to Elect Tonya Payne

    Where: East Liberty Legion Post # 5 126 Highland Avenue
    When: October 22, 2005
    Time: 8:00pm to 1:00 am

    $ 10.00 in Advance
    $ 15.00 at the door

    Set-ups $ 3.00

    Adults Only

    DJ Eric Christian

    Sponsored by: Committee to Elect Tonya Payne

    For ticket information contact : (412) 255-0663


    OCT 25th

    Howard Dean's Coming to Pittsburgh

    Event Chair
    Governor Edward G. Rendell

    Event Co-Chairs
    Judi & Mark Aronchick * Bill Benter * Peter Karlovich * Leo Castagnari * Reanette & Steve Frobouck * Steve Herforth * Steve Irwin * Richard Pearson

    Host Committee (In Formation)
    Maximilian F. Beier * Kirk Burkley * David Caliguiri * Mark Daffner * Doug McKechnie * La'Tasha Mayes * Alice Mitinger * Lindsey Patross * Tonya Payne * Jennifer Rapach * Matt Smith * Pat Sweeney * John Sylvester * Richard Taylor * Yarone Zober

    invite you to join

    Governor Howard Dean

    Chairman of the Democratic National Committee

    For a young professionals reception

    October 25, 2005
    5:30-7:00 p.m.
    At the home of Peter J. Karlovich & Steven Herforth
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania



    For more information or to join the host committee, please contact Melanie Wong at or 202-863-7163 or Andrew Wright at .

    Contributions or gifts to the Democratic National Committee are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.


    NOV 5th

    Walk For Racial Harmony

    Women for Pittsburgh 2000 is sponsoring a Walk For Racial Harmony.

    Saturday, November 5, 2005
    8:30 a.m.

    Participant and Volunteer info:

    Application and Event Details at:

    Women of Pittsburgh 2000 is a non-profit organization of committed Christian women dedicated to breaking down racial barriers between women from Greater Pittsburgh area churches to encourage change consistent with Christian values.

    It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

    Wonkette hears that Fitzgerald indictments expected on Wednesday, and this, appears today at Bloomberg:

    Cheney May Be Entangled in CIA Leak Investigation, People Say

    Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) -- A special counsel is focusing on whether Vice President Dick Cheney played a role in leaking a covert CIA agent's name, according to people familiar with the probe that already threatens top White House aides Karl Rove and Lewis Libby.

    The special counsel, Patrick Fitzgerald, has questioned current and former officials of President George W. Bush's administration about whether Cheney was involved in an effort to discredit the agent's husband, Iraq war critic and former U.S. diplomat Joseph Wilson, according to the people.

    Fitzgerald has questioned Cheney's communications adviser Catherine Martin and former spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise and ex-White House aide Jim Wilkinson about the vice president's knowledge of the anti-Wilson campaign and his dealings on it with Libby, his chief of staff, the people said. The information came from multiple sources, who requested anonymity because of the secrecy and political sensitivity of the investigation.

    (More here)

    A "Bolder Approach"

    Via Crooks and Liars, and the Huffingtonpost I was shocked shocked to learn that the administration has, yet again, changed it's story on the reason troops were sent into Iraq. But this time while they changed the story, they (perhaps inadvertantly) showed us that they were lying all along.

    Or Secretary Rice is lying now, which is it?

    VIDE: Condoleezza Rice on Meet the Press yesterday (Here's the transcript):
    MR. RUSSERT: Let me share with you some attitudes of Americans towards the war in Iraq, and here's our latest Wall Street Journal-NBC poll: 51 percent say removing Saddam Hussein was not worth it; 58 percent said we should reduce the number of U.S. troops; 56 percent feel less confident the war will be successful. Majorities now raising huge anxieties, expressing huge anxieties over the war in Iraq.

    SEC'Y RICE: I'm quite certain, Tim, that when the American people see every day what they see on their screens, which is violence and, of course, the deaths of Americans and coalition forces, it's very difficult to take. We mourn every sacrifice. But the fact of the matter is that when we were attacked on September 11, we had a choice to make. We could decide that the proximate cause was al-Qaeda and the people who flew those planes into buildings and, therefore, we would go after al-Qaeda and perhaps after the Taliban and then our work would be done and we would try to defend ourselves.

    Or we could take a bolder approach, which was to say that we had to go after the root causes of the kind of terrorism that was produced there, and that meant a different kind of Middle East. And there is no one who could have imagined a different kind of Middle East with Saddam Hussein still in power. I know it's difficult, but we have ahead of us the prospect, and I think the very good prospect of a foundation for a democratic and prosperous Iraq that can solve its differences by politics and compromise, that becomes an anchor for a Middle East that is changing.[emphasis added]
    Let me see if I can clarify the Secretary's words. The "choice," she says, was between deciding that al-qaeda was the "proximate" cause of 9-11 and deal with it as such OR deciding that "the root causes of the kind of terrorism" were threatening enough for the country to take a "bolder approach" and try to change the political landscape of the Middle East (by invading Iraq).

    Ok. But this had nothing to do with what we were told as to why the US invaded Iraq. Doncha remember? Ari Fleischer in April '03:
    Q Ari, part of the reason for the war was WMD. Now, well into the war, WMD has not been found. The American public is going to the television every morning, listening to the radio every morning, trying to find out if, indeed, WMD was found. Does the administration feel there's some awkwardness right now with these statements of they're professionals at hiding, and we know it's there? I mean, is there some sort of awkwardness about the fact that this has not been found as of yet?

    MR. FLEISCHER: No. We know Saddam Hussein is there, but we haven't found him yet, either. The fact of the matter is we are still in a war, and not everything about the war is yet known. But make no mistake -- as I said earlier -- we have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction. That is what this war was about and it is about. And we have high confidence it will be found. [emphasis added]
    The war was presented as a "no-choice-but-now situation." We had to stop Saddam Hussein from giving WMD (that we knew he had) to al-qaeda (through the channels we also knew he had) in order to stop al-qaeda from attacking us with them. Every day the pre-war weapons inspectors wasted on looking for what we already knew was there was another day for Saddam and Osama Bin-Laden to collectively plan for our destruction. We had no choice in the matter, we were told.

    Now Condolezza Rice tells that invading Iraq was a choice - a part of a "bolder approach" to combat international terrorism.

    Isn't that edging dangerously close to admitting that bombing Baghdad was a pre-emptive strike?

    [Thanks to Crooks and Liars and the HuffingtonPost for the links]

    Technorati Tags: , ,

    October 14, 2005

    Local Right Wing Pittsburgh Radio 104.7

    With nothing better to do this morning (really!) I turned on the radio to the local FM News Talk 104.7.

    The station's on-air "talent" includes Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, and a pair of local wingnuts, Quinn and Rose. The official website of this dynamic duo is called "The Warroom."

    Who is this Jim Quinn guy? I guess he's had a long and storied career in local radio. Here's some old photos for you to peruse. And here's an article from 1970 from the Pittsburgh Press about the wild child himself. While he hated hard drugs, he was in favor of legalizing marijuana. Looks like he was the sort of guy who railed against "the establishment" and then happily cashed its hefty paychecks.

    Here's what Chris Potter (of the City Paper) had to say about Jim Quinn more recently (in 2003, to be exact):
    As 2003 comes to a close, we at City Paper bid farewell to one of our unlikeliest colleagues: radio “personality” Jim Quinn. You may know Quinn from his weekday morning screeds on WRRK-FM, where he raves about feminists, environmentalists, the United Nations, and so on. But here at work, we know him as the guy who walks around the office with a sidearm strapped to his waist.
    Wait-there's more:
    Quinn doesn’t even have a book out this Christmas season, but when it comes to groundless rumor-mongering, he can hold his own: Quinn once claimed that physicians of Middle Eastern descent were openly celebrating the Sept. 11 attacks in McKeesport. He based his report on an e-mail from a listener, but despite that ironclad evidence, the story turned out to be utterly groundless. Quinn had to apologize for it later.
    And here's Dimitri Vassilaros (of the Trib) had to say in 2002. The article was published right after the two DC-area snipers were arrested and Vassilaros was writing about how some local radio talk-show hosts were presenting the story:
    "I think he is an Islamist looney-toon who thinks God wants him to murder anyone who is not a Muslim in return for 72 virgins and a key to the celestial Playboy Club," says Jim Quinn, WRRK (96.9 FM) morning talk host. Quinn says he is not legally mandated to say "alleged," but "I think people understand he is innocent until proven guilty."

    Rose Somma Tenant, Quinn's morning show partner, is not as fair and balanced."In my mind, it is obvious he is guilty of many things," she says. "I consider him a criminal right now just based on what he has done. You notice there have been no more shootings now that he has been arrested."
    Good thing the police actually caught the right guy. Imagine if they'd made a mistake. I wonder what the warroom would have said about the "looney-tune criminal" then.

    On the "speaking before thinking" front, I guess things haven't changed much over there at the warroom. Today, I heard Rose Tennant (the "Rose" of "Quinn and Rose") do an expose of sorts on Time journalist John Cloud. After googling some of the phrases, I found her source matieral. It was this article from the Traditional Values Coalition. She read the web page pretty much verbatim. Good work, Rose. Lotsa digging involved in reciting a right-wing webpage. The TVC piece, by the way, starts like this:
    John Cloud, a homosexual activist who writes for Time magazine has recently written the cover story for Time (Oct. 10, 2005) on “The Battle Over Gay Teens.” The article does not reveal that Cloud is a promiscuous homosexual who admits enjoying anonymous sex.
    Now I have no idea about John Cloud's personal life, but that's a helluva way to start a "fair and balanced" report, isn't it?

    From what I heard this morning, Rose quoted the TVC article and claimed that Cloud compared the Boy Scouts to the KKK. By the way, if they had actually checked the Time article (reprinted via the Unitarian Universalist Association--this is the link the Traditional Values Coalition uses, by the way) they would have seen the extent of Clouds "comparison."
    Gay-activist attorneys say the presence of a few gays wouldn't keep Scout officials from maintaining anti-gay views, since the vast majority of scouting activities never involve discussions of sexuality or politics. They say the issue isn't so much a group's right to exclusivity--no one is arguing that the Ku Klux Klan must admit Jews--as it is whether a group like the Boy Scouts, which generally welcomes every boy, can claim that being anti-gay is part of its core values. (As a practical matter, the N.A.A.C.P isn't worried: it has filed a brief against the Scouts.) [emphasis added]
    That's it. The "comparison" hinges on each group's right to exclusivity. But the paragraph itself says that that's not really the issue at hand, doesn't it?

    But's only talk radio, so "facts" and "truth" are concepts that don't matter much in the Quinn/Rose warroom.

    October 13, 2005

    AOL Poll: Bush in the Crapper

    Yes, these kinds of self-selected polls are completely unscientific, but boy, is this one sweet. Besides, his number suck on EVERY poll.

    How would you rate President Bush's overall performance?
    Poor 73%

    Good 10%
    Excellent 9%
    Fair 7%

    Do Bush's poll ratings signal long-term trouble for him?
    Yes 75%

    No 25%

    Which issue do you believe has been the most damaging for him?
    War in Iraq 69%

    Hurricane Katrina 16%
    Rising gas prices 14%

    Total Votes: 54,644

    (Further down the page)

    Which is more to blame for Bush's poll ratings?
    Decisions and actions within his control 81%
    Circumstances beyond his control 19%
    Total Votes: 27,526

    Harriet Miers will get confirmed to the Supreme Court.
    Fiction 55%

    Fact 45%
    Total Votes: 23,562

    President Bush's approval rating will jump by this time next year.
    Fiction 78%

    Fact 22%
    Total Votes: 24,333

    Democrats will win control of Congress in 2006.
    Fact 70%
    Fiction 30%
    Total Votes: 24,498

    If you have AOL, you can vote here.

    Chimpy: Unprecedented!

    Kanye West may be right or wrong (he's right) that "George Bush doesn't care about Black people," but it's a sure thing that Black people don't care for George Bush:

    The poll also revealed overwhelming opposition to Bush among African-Americans. Only two percent said they approved of his performance as president, the lowest level ever recorded in that category, NBC television reported.
    Can you say "Katrina"?

    And, speaking of Katrina, Spike Lee is reportedly to produce and direct a documentary about that hurricane's deadly aftermath.

    The Nexus of Politics and Terror (Keith Olbermann)

    During the recent NY subway terror alert Keith Olbermann said that there had been 13 occurrences of a "political downturn for the administration, followed by a 'terror event' -- a change in alert status, an arrest, a warning."

    On last night's Countdown show on MSNBC, Olbermann went into detail on ten of them. All thirteen are now outlined on his blog:


    October 11, 2005


    Working on huge work project (literally and figuratively) and PC was hijacked for a few hours.

    Will try to blog later...

    October 10, 2005

    October 8, 2005

    A River of Chocolate Behind My House

    So I've been watching/listening to the C-SPAN 25-Hour Call-In Marathon off and on since it started last night and Mona Charen has just wrapped up as the guest for the last hour. As if listening to Mona prop up Shrub for an hour wasn't bad enough, there was one caller who was just so disturbing that I had to change the channel for a few minutes until I felt it was safe to switch back.

    The caller was a woman and, no, she wasn't giving some passionate defense of Bush or railing against abortion or being openly racist or whatever else you might suppose may have set me off her call.

    She said at the beginning of her call that she wanted to give testimony to her life (or something close to that).

    She then gave a not so brief personal bio which was punctuated with moments when God came into and changed her life.

    Now, I'm somewhat certain that I have made it clear in writing on this blog that I am an atheist. That does not mean that if she had said something like, "I had some problem and I prayed on it and read the Bible and found comfort" or "found the answer I was seeking" that I would have felt compelled to turn the channel.

    This is not the type of intervention by God that this woman was claiming.

    She would make statements like, "I had a brother who died before I was born and my parents were so sad so they prayed and prayed and then I was born."

    Woman, did it ever occur to you that your parents had SEX and that's why you were born?!? Probably lots and lots of SEX? Hot, sweaty SEX that resulted in your miraculous birth?

    I'm sorry, but this was one simple woman -- and by simple, I mean every significant moment in her life she claimed as some sort of miracle of God.

    Another miracle occurred when she was 17 and had apparently dropped out in the 10th grade and was told she could never get far in life but she wanted to join the army and she, "prayed and prayed and then Carter decided to let people with only a 10th grade education join the army."


    I mean doesn't this go beyond mere magical thinking into the realm of utter hubris? It's akin to when some Grammy/Emmy/Oscar winner thanks God for winning as if there was a God that God would give a royal fuck who won a motherfucking trophy! It's akin to someone thanking God for answering their prayers by sparing their life in a in if only the ones who perished had just prayed a little harder...or prayed harder to the 'right' god...

    Obviously there's something very, very wrong with this woman or with myself because we both cannot be right in our thinking.

    Now, I'm sure some of you out there will think that I'm the one who is as twisted as the pretzel that Bush choked on (Go Pretzels!), but if that is the case and this woman does indeed have a direct hotline to the Lord's Ear, I'd like to make a small suggestion:
    Can she maybe "pray and pray" for world peace, or an end to hunger, or a river of chocolate to suddenly appear behind my house, or something far more useful than the prayers God has been apparently answering for her up to now?

    Is that really so much to ask of anyone who has the power to make the Leader of the Free World change military policy by dint of prayer just to comply with her own personal wish?


    My head hurts.

    Must lay down with a cold rag over my forehead...

    Some more about Pat Tillman

    As you'll no doubt recall, I posted this more than a week ago here at 2PJ.

    If you need to take a few moments to reacquaint yourself with the posting, be my guest.

    Here's some new stuff on the story.

    Ann Coulter doesn't believe it. has a transcript of the discussion. Colmes confronted Coulter with the story and she said:
    I really don't believe that, and I think you got it from one of those documents Mary Mapes handed to Dan Rather.
    In short, she made a joke out of Pat Tillman's death.

    Nice going, Ann.

    The Nation has a longer piece on this. They point out that:
    It must have been quite a moment for Coulter, who upon Tillman's death described him in her inimitably creepy fashion as "an American original--virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be." She tried to discredit the story as San Francisco agitprop, but this approach ran into a slight problem: The article's source was Pat Tillman's mother, Mary.
    And we should probably take a look at the context of Coulter's quotation. It was from an "end of the year" column. Take a look at it here. The woman who claims that liberals are destroying civil discourse makes a number of interesting insults in her thousand or so words. Some examples:

    She calls Senators Kerry and Edwards:
    an America-bashing trophy husband and his blow-dried, ambulance-chasing sidekick.
    And then there's this complete paragraph:
    Surprisingly, Teresa [Heinz Kerry] never became a major campaign issue. It turned out that supporters of a phony war hero who preyed on rich widows were also OK with the notion of a first lady who might use the F-word during Rose Garden press conferences. By the same token, anyone who was put off by the not-so-affable Eva Peron of American politics already didn't like John Kerry - thanks largely to John O'Neill and the Swiftboat Veterans.
    John Kerry: an America-bashing trophy husband and phony war hero who preys on rich widows. Yea, it's the liberals who are debasing civil discourse in Murika

    Then she compares Pat Tillman and John Kerry:
    American hero Pat Tillman won a Silver Star this year. But unlike Kerry, he did not write his own recommendation or live to throw his medals over the White House fence in an anti-war rally.

    Tillman was an American original: virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be. The stunningly handsome athlete walked away from a three-year, $3.6 million NFL contract with the Arizona Cardinals to join the U.S. military and fight in Afghanistan, where he was killed in April.

    He wanted no publicity and granted no interviews about his decision to leave pro football in the prime of his career and join the Army Rangers. (Most perplexing to Democrats, he didn't even take a home movie camera to a war zone in order to create fake footage for future political campaigns in which he would constantly palaver about his military service and drag around his "Band of Brothers" for the media.)
    Hmm - all I can do is quote something that the San Francisco Chronicle points out:
    Interviews also show a side of Pat Tillman not widely known — a fiercely independent thinker who enlisted, fought and died in service to his country yet was critical of President Bush and opposed the war in Iraq, where he served a tour of duty.
    He fought and died in service of his country - even when he disagreed with the policies that put him there.

    Pat Tillman, American hero.

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